Tropical Cyclone “Keni” heading toward Fiji, warnings issued

Tropical Cyclone “Keni” formed April 8, 2018 near Vanuatu as the 8th named cyclone of the 2017/18 South Pacific tropical cyclone season. Keni is strengthening on its way toward Fiji where officials issued tropical cyclone warning.

At 06:00 UTC (18:00 FST) on April 9, Tropical Cyclone “Keni” was located about 590 km (370 mi) west of Viwa Island, Fiji, or about 660 km (410 mi) west-northwest of Nadi, Fiji.

Its 10-minute sustained winds were 100 km/h (65 mph), while 1-minute sustained winds were at 85 km/h (50 mph), with gusts of up to 120 km/h (75 mph). The minimum barometric pressure was at 986 hPa, and the system was moving southeastwards at 22 km/h (14 mph).

Tropical Cyclone Keni on April 9, 2018

Tropical Cyclone “Keni” on April 9, 2018. Credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS

A storm warning remains in force for southwest Viti Levu, from Nadi through Sigatoka to Coral Coast, Mamanuca Group, Vatulele and Kadavu. 

A gale warning remains in force for the rest of Viti Levu, Beqa, Yasawa group, Lomaiviti group, Moala, Totoya, Matuku and southern Lau group.

A strong wind and heavy rain warnings remain in force for the whole of Fiji and flood warning for parts of it.

Tropical Cyclone Keni RSMC Nadi forecast track April 9, 2018

Tropical Cyclone “Keni” forecast track by RSMC Nadi on April 9, 2018

Tropical Cyclone Keni at 03:40 UTC on April 9, 2018

Tropical Cyclone Keni at 03:40 UTC on April 9, 2018. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8

While things may still change, Keni is expected to pass just south of Fiji at a very fast speed, catching off guard people unprepared for damaging winds (up to 110 km/h / 68 mph) and heavy rain (up to 200 mm / 7.9 inches) over the next 24 hours. 

The cyclone is expected to peak at 06:00 UTC on April 10 at 130 km/h (80 mph) west of Tonga and keep dropping moderate to heavy rain over the region over the next 3 – 4 days.

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone “Keni” on April 9, 2018. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8

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